Cheshire East Council reports potential budget deficit of £12.8m

Cheshire East Council is set to report financial pressures of £12.8m against its 2023/24 budget. Savings have already been identified to reduce this from £26.6m.

A report will be discussed at the corporate policy committee meeting on 5 October to identify areas for the additional savings to achieve a balanced budget.

The council is already implementing decisions that were taken as part of the process to set the budget in February. This includes the introduction of charges for garden waste collections, reductions to library opening hours and a review of car parking income

As part of its discussion at the committee meeting, the council will outline a range of proposed financial measures, such as a review of:

Prices (and charges for services) to meet rising costs and inflation;
Recruitment – with a focus on recruiting for statutory, or income-generating roles only;
All council contracts with suppliers and contractors;
How the council accounts for spending on projects and other day-to-day spending;
Continued rationalisation of the council's estate.

These measures are needed to reduce the in-year gap and minimise the use of council reserves.

Councillor Sam Corcoran, leader of Cheshire East Council and chair of the corporate policy committee, said: "Despite development of a robust four-year budget plan with high levels of engagement, strong financial management and progress against our corporate plan, the council has no choice but to operate within a significantly challenging financial landscape.

"The Local Government Association and County Councils Network have both stated that councils in England are facing a funding gap in the billions of pounds over the next two years, with a BBC report finding that the average council now faces a predicted £33 million deficit by 2025-26.

"We are seeing demand for some council services that will be four times what we have now over the next five years. With more individuals and families needing support than ever before, the care of our most vulnerable people must come first."

Councillor Craig Browne, deputy leader of Cheshire East Council, said, "Council officers are working extremely hard to reduce our forecasted budget gap, and by working together, our saving measures will help reduce the impact this gap has on our reserves. We cannot underestimate the challenge of achieving these savings over coming months.

"The severity of our situation means we must, again, look at everything the council delivers.

"I would urge anyone who is concerned to keep a look out for our budget consultation which will be launching in the autumn, and to help us as we develop a new strategic plan for the next four years. These two things will help us to focus on the borough's priorities and, how we pay for it."

The Corporate Policy Committee agenda papers and strategic review report will be published on the council website five working days before the meeting.



Here's what readers have had to say so far. Why not add your thoughts below.

Pete Taylor
Wednesday 20th September 2023 at 3:13 pm
CEC and other local Councils have been massively under-funded since George Osborne's (remember him?) failed austerity experiment. The chickens are all coming home to roost.
Jean Berman
Wednesday 20th September 2023 at 5:42 pm
Maybe look at the fat salaries some of the chiefs could save a lot there.
Nick Jones
Thursday 21st September 2023 at 9:50 am
So in 2021/22 CEC Secures £19.6m from S106, Whilst 2022/23is an Unknown amount probably similar or more... Yet review indicates ‘No Assurance’ in CEC 'effective & efficient use of S106' ‘Limited strategic oversight, Ineffective monitoring and accountability, Ineffective governance and monitoring, continuation of poor practice’.... Haven't we been here before??... You cant blame central government for that.

Then a reported budget deficit of £12.8M .. Its no wonder Lorraine O'Donnell went elsewhere for more cash!. Its on her watch with others patting her on the back ..

Can CEC therefore affords its proposed £200k salary for a replacement CEO?? or Electric vehicle strategy and more ?. Other councils are suffering, but what is CEC doing to put its own house in order? Austerity ? / Cost Review ? .. So whilst there is a ‘consultation’ before parking charges are increased, Sam Corcoran and Craig Browne need to reconsider their willingness to spend CEC residents money they don’t have.

Westfields is hardly used by CEC as they work out of offices at Crewe, Macclesfield, Cledford and reported ‘more people working from home /hybrid working, much of the office space is no longer needed’.. Sell it !

Whats concerning here is the independents voice in ‘doing the right thing’ being lost in the crowd. The public giveth and The public taketh away..
As Sir Humphrey pointed out : ‘..if the right people don't have power, do you know what happens? The wrong people get it!